Russell Powers was born in 1893. He served in World War I as a fireman with the United States Navy, beginning his overseas service in October 1917. Powers received a Purple Heart medal after surviving a torpedo attack from a German submarine on his ship, the Mount Vernon, on the morning of September 5, 1918. Over sixty percent of his body was burned, and according to doctors he was not supposed to live. In this interview, Powers discusses the following topics: the outbreak of the war; basic training; how he got along with French civilians; his attitude towards the Germans, his officers, the home front, and conscientious objectors; description of a typical shore leave; what he thought of President Woodrow Wilson; post-war employment; and how his life changed as a result of the war. Powers also gives an eyewitness account of the September 5, 1918 torpedoing of the Mount Vernon.